Chicago Lightning Title: Chicago Lightning
Release: October 4, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-6121-8091-5
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer


Tough, cynical, and clever, Nathan Heller has been called “the perfect private eye,” the best investigator that Chicago (where 'lightning' means gunfire) has to offer. Created by New York Times bestselling novelist and Road to Perdition creator Max Allan Collins, the classic PI comes vibrantly to life in this collection of thirteen stories, all based on real cases of the 1930s and ‘40s. In “The Blonde Tigress,” Heller encounters a vicious hold-up crew with a brutal female leader, while in “Scrap” he investigates a union shooting that has national implications. In “The Perfect Crime” he goes Hollywood to protect the lovely Thelma Todd, with tragic results. The private eye finds himself tangling with notorious mobster Mickey Cohen in a “Shoot-out On Sunset” and with Al Capone’s successor, Frank Nitti, in “Screwball.” Heller’s friendship with Eliot Ness finds the two men working together in both “The Strawberry Teardrop,” in which Heller encounters America’s first serial killer, and “Natural Death, Inc.” Heller tackles each case with his trademark cynicism and humor, digging into the grimy underbelly of twentieth-century America to uncover the truth at any cost.


2009 Shamus Award Nominee, Best Short Story: "The Blonde Tigress"


The Cold Spot: "[Chicago Lightning offers] up terrific historical PI fiction....The pieces are vivid, have depth, and traverse the arena of mystery fiction from noir to hardboiled to police procedural."

Singular Points: "the Heller books, in addition to being suspenseful mysteries, are fascinating portraits of other times. They are true historical novels, not just mysteries set in the past. The shorts are just as well researched and just as well written."

NewPulp: "[Chicago Lightning] comes heavily loaded with pure pulp pizzaz. Don’t miss it."

Faith, Fiction, Friends: "Chicago Lightning (the name given to machine-gun fire) is a solid collection of hardboiled private eye stories, and earns a well deserved place in a long tradition of tough-guy hero stories."

ComicMix's John Ostrander: "Highly recommended."

The Broken Bullhorn: "A very satisfying collection which offers many insights into the character Heller was and will become."


Return to Book List